Investing in female founders: the angel investor’s view


Rhona Campbell explains ‘the echo effect’ and why we need more female angel investors in the market.

Rhona Campbell is a board member of Investing Women, Scotland’s only all-female angel investing group, as well as the founder of her own company, Rhona Campbell Associates.

Here, she explains how female angel investors can help female-founded businesses.

Lack of representation in the market

“There’s no question that angel investing is a male-dominated business,” Campbell says. “Only around 12% of angel investors in the UK are women, so we have some way to go. Investing Women is here to address the growth that still needs to happen.”

Campbell points out that by increasing the numbers of female angel investors, there will in turn be an increase in angel-backed companies that are led by women.

“We’ve seen this echo effect, this direct correlation between the numbers of female angels and the numbers of female-led companies that win investment, time and time again,” Campbell says. “Investing Women was set up to change the landscape and bring in more female angels.”

Diversity is key to success, Campbell explains. “The advantage of having both male and female angles is that diversity of thought, alongside a wealth of experience and expertise,” she says.

“I think there’s a slight preconception that women are more collaborative, but that trait is a good one in investor teams,” Campbell says. “You’re looking for opportunities to work with other people and if you have collaborative people on both sides of the team – as investors and as founders – you have a very productive dynamic.”

Advice for female founders

The first thing that all founders should note, Campbell says, is that “we’re open for business”.

“Angel investment groups are always looking for new opportunities, and the investment criteria we had before this crisis remains: we’re looking for new ideas.” As a result, she says, founders looking to pitch should make sure that they’re investor-ready.

For female founders, Campbell says that one aspect of getting ready to pitch should include doing due diligence on the diversity of an angel investment company. Are there women on the team? What have they invested in in the past?

“Make sure that your business plan is put together, of course, but also make sure that you’ve chosen the investor themselves carefully,” she says. “It’s a two-way relationship and you’ve got to make sure that it’s going to work for you, and that you can build a successful relationship into the future too.”

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